Cultural Mela: Creative art work of Brick Kiln workers
ISLAMABAD (ILO News): Brick kiln workers presented their life experiences through creative art in a Cultural Mela held in Lahore. Workers and their children created wonderful paintings, sculptures, impressions on canvas with the help of faculty and students of College of Art & Design. Total of 94 painting, 25 greetings cards, 56 sculptures made of mud and plaster of paris were produced by 145 brick female and male workers including their children. One of the Brick Kiln workers M. Serwar appreciated the opportunity they received to express themselves through art. The Cultural Mela was jointly organized by the NGO ANCE and the College of Arts and Design, Punjab University, with the support of the ILO project “Empowerment of vulnerable groups through Employment, Education and Training” on 27th February 2013, in Punjab University Lahore. For the last few months, under the ILO project, the faculty and students of the college held various training session with the brick kiln workers and their children to help them create art works. Mr Francesco d’Ovidio, ILO Country Director in his speech appreciated the excellent art produced by the brick kiln workers and their children to express their feelings. Mr d’Ovidio also acknowledged the role played by the brick kiln employers in allowing the registration of their workers with Social Security Scheme of PESSI for free medical and other services. He hoped that other brick kiln employers will also follow these noble examples so more brick kilns workers could benefit from the PESSI cards. He also said that the brick kiln work is a creative one; however, it is important to ensure that there is no bonded labour. He highlighted the lead role of the government to ensure bonded labour systems come to an end from the brick kiln sector. Dr Pervez, Secretary Punjab Literacy Department, shared that the various non formal education and literacy programme have been launched by his department for the workers of the brick kilns in Punjab. He said that these free government programmes aim to educate the brick kiln workers and their children. Dr Rahat Naveed, Principal, College of Arts & Design, Punjab University, thanked the ILO for the opportunity to allow the faculty and students of the college to interact with the workers of brick kilns. She said that this dialogue has helped the workers to produce some excellent art work that has been displayed in the college. She admired the raw talent among the workers to create beautiful objects with mud that have great aesthetic value. She felt that brick kiln workers and their children have successfully managed to communicate with the society about their ever day experiences. Officials of the NARDRA and PESSI also spoke on the event and highlighted the need for workers to obtain ID cards and the PESSI cards. Earlier, Mr d’Ovidio, inaugurated the Cultral Mela along with Dr Pervaiz Ahmed Khan, Secretary, Punjab Literacy Department and Dr Rahat Naveed Principal of Arts & Design College. The guest visited each stall and greatly admired the art work produced by the brick kiln workers. Large number of brick kilns workers, children, students and media were present on the occasion. At the end of the ceremony, shields and certificates were distributed among the faculty and students of the College of Arts and Design.
 
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